Most Perak, Selangor reps slow to respond to e-mail, social media queries, study finds

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(The Star) – Out of 114 assemblymen from Perak and Seangor, only five received a green rating.

If you want a state assemblyman in Perak and Selangor to look into an issue affecting your constituency, don’t expect a speedy response if you contact them via social media or e-mail.

Kuasa, a non-governmental organisation, conducted a study to gauge responsiveness of assemblymen and found that only five of 114 representatives responded in a timely manner to queries sent to them via e-mail or posted on their social media accounts.

In general, it also found most assemblymen were difficult to contact, with only 23% of Perak assemblymen and 67% of Selangor assemblymen replying via one of the three channels.

In the study, conducted by Kuasa staff over 10 days, assemblymen were contacted via email, Facebook and Twitter, with ‘mystery guests’ posing as constituents with problems affecting them.

The speed of assemblymen’s response were rated on three levels – green for a quick response within three days of contact, and yellow for a delayed response and were difficult to contact.

A red rating denoted a ‘fail’ – with the assemblyman not replying to the messages or were not contactable, with telephone calls also made to the office of those who did not respond.

Out of 114 assemblymen from Perak and Seangor, only five received a green rating.

In its study, Kuasa discovered factors that impeded contact were incorrect e-mail address provided, discontinued e-mail addresses, multiple social media accounts and obsolete contact points such as unused and websites that had not been updated.

It also found that Barisan assemblymen in both states were generally not as quick as Pakatan’s to respond.

“If an assemblyman puts his contact information out, they must be responsible for it,” said Kuasa’s chief executive Praba Ganesan, adding it was a responsibility to ensure constituents could contact them – through all possible forms of communication.

He gave examples where responses were prompt, such as Trong assemblyman Zabri Abd Wahid (BN) and Pasir Pinji assemblyman Howard Lee (DAP), who responded to queries with follow-ups on subsequent days.

“Kuala Kubu Baru representative Lee Kee Heong (DAP) was contactable through all three communication methods. In two instances, she replied within 15 minutes. She also provided suggestions and solutions to issues raised,” said Praba.

He also said younger assemblymen appeared to be more in tune with modern communication methods, but said all – regardless of age – needed to be contactable through online methods.

Kuasa is planning a follow-up study in six months’ time to see if there is an improvement in response times.

Plans are also in the works for a one-year report card for Selangor and Perak, detailing how well the respective governments have kept to their election promises.

The report card, expected to be released by May, will be based on three criteria – self-evaluation by the state government, appraisal by state opposition and responses by stakeholders of the manifestos.

Visit the Kuasa website for reports on individual assemblymen and how to best contact them.